Happenings around Antioch

Take time to give thanks

It is at this time of year when many people, regardless of their spiritual condition or social status, begin to reflect on giving thanks. I have always wondered whom atheists thank for their many blessings. Could their doxology possibly be, “Praise no one from whom all blessings flow”? That doesn’t just sound hollow, it sounds ridiculous because any thinking individual knows that the very air he breathes is a gift, the sunshine that warms his tomatoes is a wonder, the ground that supports his every step is a benevolence.

Paul said, “What do you have that you did not receive?” Indeed. The question is not, “Where do I start to give thanks for the blessings I have been given,” but, “Where would I stop?”

Here are a few of my blessings that I share with you, in the hopes that my ramblings may provoke you to consider your own life and how God has been generous with you.

I am most thankful for the Lord who chose to save me. I shudder to think where I would be right now, what I would be doing, what days of quiet desperation I would be living without the presence of Jesus Christ in my life. How does anyone navigate the normal trials and tribulations of life without the one who is life and strength and hope? That is indeed a question for the ages.

I am thankful for my precious wife of 34 years. I love to tell the story of how God used Cindy to turn me around 180 degrees. While I was intent on pursuing my own goals and satisfying my own selfish ambitions, God had me bump into this young lady in Chapel Hill who was serving the Lord the way I knew I was supposed to. Cindy is my best friend and the love of my life.

I am thankful for seven children and the wonderful spouses four of them have found. They keep us laughing, praying, and rejoicing that they know Jesus. As John said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” I love my children and five grandchildren and cannot begin to measure all that they have taught me.

I am thankful to be part of the body of Christ in a local church, people who have stood by me through the loss of loved ones, personal health issues, and struggles with my own sinful heart. If you are in a fellowship that still believes the Bible is true and that Jesus is our only hope for salvation, that the purpose of church is to equip the saints to do the work of ministry, that loves to give people and money to missions, that is filled with folks who really do love the Lord and each other…you are greatly blessed. Church is not a service or a building or even a group of people who just like to be together and think the same way. The church is the body of Christ, which he purchased with his own blood, and which he is building. Our hope is not and has never been in the political process, but in the Lord. His Kingdom is eternal, and will never be shaken.

There is much more I give thanks for today, including the opportunity the Times-News has given me to write this column each week. How about you? What are you thankful for today? Write it down, shout it out, and mostly, tell the Lord about it. He is, after all, the one who has given you all that you have.